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Feeding Madison as temperatures heat up

MADISON (WKOW) — For those brave enough to face the heat, the Madison area is home to dozens of outdoor summer events. Caterers and food trucks at those events are making sure attendees don’t go hungry.

Only for Scott Lynch, that means spending the heat wave next to a more than 800 degree wood burning oven. He makes pizzas to order as the catering and vending manager for Pizza Brutta and he said Wednesday’s Concerts on the Square gave him a taste of what’s to come.

“So far this year, this is the hottest day,” he said.

With 10 years of experience cooking for outdoor events, Lynch said he knows how to prepare for 80, 90 or 100 degree temperatures and it starts with packing plenty of ice.

“Because at this temperature most foods would be considered spoiled once they sat out for two hours,” he said.

That’s why Lynch keeps his ingredients in coolers until they’re ready and the ones they are using sit in a tub of ice on their counter.

Still, he said the most important part of running an outdoor food stand is ensuring his staff is managing the extra heat no matter how busy they may be.

“We kind of keep an eye on our pace and realize we can only work so fast in this heat,” he said.

By Wednesday evening, Lynch and his crew were facing temperatures in the mid-80s but he said they’ve got a number of private outdoor events to cater later in the week as the heat index rises to 110 degrees.

“It’s going to be a little hotter so we’re super looking forward to that,” he said.

Still, Lynch said their plan remains the same.

“Customers will understand if you have to moderate your pace to stay healthy,” he said.

That’s why Lynch said he’s telling his staff to take water breaks when they can and to stay as far away from the oven as possible.

Though he said working next to a stove is uncomfortable during these hotter months, he said it’s worth it because the job warms his heart year round.

“I’ve had the job where no one cares if you show up,” he said. “And when you show up with a pizza oven, people are happy to see you.”

Michelle Alfini

Reporter, WKOW

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